Security and EU citizens. What we have learnt on the day Article 50 is triggered.
- Credit: PA
Theresa May says there is no going back
Prime minister Theresa May said the triggering of Article 50 was 'an historic moment from which there can be no turning back'. She is aiming to complete the process in two-years. Britain is now set to leave at midnight on March 29th, 2017.
Britain is trying to be friends with the European Union after Brexit
The prime minister said seven times that she wanted a 'deep and special relationship' with the European Union in her letter to Donald Tusk.
She said: 'We are leaving the European Union, but we are not leaving Europe - and we want to remain committed partners and allies to our friends across the continent.'
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The fate of European Union citizens has still not been resolved - but even citizens arriving after today are likely to keep their rights
The prime minister said she wanted to strike an early agreement about the rights of EU citizens - the line she had taken before triggering Article 50. Questioned about whether EU citizens could keep coming to Britain with full rights, her chancellor Philip Hammond told the BBC earlier: 'Of course they can come here after today. We remain full members of the EU with all the obligations and all the rights of membership.'
Theresa May reminded the European Union about the importance of security co-operation - some interpreted it as a threat
The prime minister said the 'abhorrent' Westminster terror attack reinforced the need for the 'closest' links between police and security agencies across the European Union. She warned that a failure to reach an agreement with the EU on the terms of the UK's withdrawal 'would mean our co-operation in the fight against crime and terrorism would be weakened'. Critics said it was 'scandalous' to raise the prospect of limiting co-operation on security matters.
Scotland and other devolved nations, will get more power after Brexit
After calls by the Scottish National Party for a second referendum, Therea May said Holyrood and the other devolved governments should expect a 'significant increase' in powers as a result of Brexit.
She repeated her pledge that no powers currently devolved will be removed from the administrations in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast.
Theresa May wants the terms of the divorce to be discussed alongside a trade deal
Theresa May has warned the EU that negotiations on the terms of Britain's 'divorce bill' must take place alongside talks on a new trade deal the remaining member states.
She said that while she recognised there had to be a 'fair settlement' of the UK's outstanding obligations, she made clear she did not accept the demand of the EU's chief negotiator Michel Barnier that this had to be agreed before trade talks could start.
German chancellor Angela Merkel rejected the call for negotiations on the UK's exit from the EU to run in parallel with talks on the future relationship.
European Council president Donald Tusk is not happy about the arrival of the letter - but he is determined to show a united front
In a statement released immediately after the Article 50 trigger letter was handed over, the European Council said: 'In these negotiations the Union will act as one and preserve its interests.'
In a press conference immediately after Triggering Article 50 Mr Tusk said he was not happy and that most Europeans, including nearly half of British voters, wished the European Union and Britain had 'stayed together not drifted apart'.
He said the process will be about 'damage control'. 'Our goal is clear to minimise cost for EU citizens business and member states. We will do everything in our power and we have all the tools to achieve this goal.' The remaining EU members will discuss Article 50 on April 29.